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Brain Res Bull. 2003 Jun 15;60(5-6):423-33.

Development of inner ear afferent connections: forming primary neurons and connecting them to the developing sensory epithelia.

Author information

1
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Creighton University, Omaha, NE 68178, USA. Fritzsch@Creighton.edu
2
Creighton U, Omaha, NE

Abstract

The molecular and cellular origin of the primary neurons of the inner ear, the vestibular and spiral neurons, is reviewed including how they connect to the specific sensory epithelia and what the molecular nature of their survival is. Primary neurons of the ear depend on a single basic Helix-Loop-Helix (bHLH) protein for their formation, neurogenin 1 (ngn1). An immediate downstream gene is the bHLH gene neuronal differentiation (NeuroD). Targeted null mutations of ngn1 results in absence of primary neuron formation; targeted null mutation of NeuroD results in loss of almost all spiral and many vestibular neurons. NeuroD and a later expressed gene, Brn3a, play a role in pathfinding to and within sensory epithelia. The molecular nature of this pathfinding property is unknown. Reduction of hair cells in ngn1 null mutations suggests a clonal relationship with primary neurons. This relationship may play some role in specifying the identity of hair cells and the primary neurons that connect with them. Primary neuron neurites growth to sensory epithelia is initially independent of trophic factors released from developing sensory epithelia, but becomes rapidly dependent on those factors. Null mutations of specific neurotrophic factors lose distinct primary neuron populations which undergo rapid embryonic cell death.

PMID:
12787865
PMCID:
PMC3904733
DOI:
10.1016/s0361-9230(03)00048-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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